The rays of dying sunlight cast soft blurs of shadow over everything, bathing the couple on the balcony in golden light. Remus Lupin wrapped his fingers around Lydia’s considerably smaller ones and puller her closer to him until they were forehead to forehead, strands of sandy brown hair entwined in strands of red. He smiled breezily at her, losing himself in her pale blue eyes, and she coyly returned it, her lips curving up in what Remus thought was the most heavenly of expressions. A slight blush of happiness crept up her cheeks, colouring them pale pink and warming Remus’ heart.
“I love you,” he told her as he leant in to kiss her. Their lips brushed and slid apart and she giggled with a tinge of embarrassment. Remus put a hand behind her head and held her close to him, kissing her deeply, but with reservation, as though he was being careful not to break her.
She smiled again into his lips contentedly, and kissed him back. “I love you too, Rem.”
After a moment, he pulled away, disentangling his hand from her auburn hair and getting up to leave. He did not look her in the eye as he spoke. “I have to go,”
Lydia’s brow knotted. “What’s wrong? I thought-”
“No, no, it’s nothing, I just have to go. Sorry, Lydia; I’ll see you in the morning, ‘kay?” He gave her an apologetic smile, and pecked her cheek once more before letting go of her hand and slipping away, leaving Lydia sitting on the balcony alone with the cool stone rail chilling her even through the denim of her jeans. She sighed and bit her lip, wishing that her boyfriend didn’t have secrets from her.
It was darker now, and the sun was just a sliver of orange cresting the horizon. At least they’d had this
small bit of romance before he had run away again, and the sunset had been particularly beautiful that night, sitting with Remus and just feeling happy
, for once. It was a miracle he’d even noticed
her at all, but that they were together like this was... well, she could scarcely believe it herself.
Remus Lupin, who would’ve thought it?
She smiled again, flexing the hand that he had been holding and relishing his touch.
Out of nowhere, a movement snatched her attention and she squinted at the grounds laid out below. There were four small shapes hurrying across the grounds, two very tall, one short and another somewhere between. Years of watching and admiring from the shadows left Lydia in no doubt as to whom these people were- Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter and her boyfriend, Remus Lupin. Almost immediately the bitter taste of suspicion rose in her throat, and she got to her feet. What was Remus doing with them? He’d said he had to do something important.
Was he just trying to get rid of me so he could mess around with the Marauders?
She shook her head to dismiss the thought. Remus wouldn’t, he loved her- he’d even said
so. It had to be a stupid mistake, she was being ridiculous. She’d find him in the morning and they could laugh about her paranoia together.
Still the curiosity nagged, and she kept watching and wondering. Where were they going? Not towards the forest, that’d be stupid a this time of night, but where else could it be? The group approached the Whomping Willow and Lydia watched with wide eyes as Peter shook like a leaf in the wind before shrinking to nothing. The group did not react, but Lydia was shocked enough for all of them, her knuckles turning bone white as she clenched her hands. Then, one by one, the Marauders slipped through the knot of gnarled roots at the foot of the tree and disappeared.
Enough is enough
, thought Lydia, and ran back into the castle and down the stairs, praying that she was not met by a prefect or a teacher so close to the curfew.
She stopped on the fourth floor in front of a large, old mirror. For a moment she stared at her only reflection with her conviction wavering, and then she shook her wand from its resting place I her sleeve, gripping the willow tight. “Patefacite!
” She commanded, and her reflection dissolved, revealing a large passage beyond, build carefully in the stone wall. She wasted no more time on indecision, and hurried forward until she was outside, hoping that Remus would not regret showing her the way beforehand. She could see the Willow tree from there, in the distance, and so she made a beeline towards it, kicking up dew from the soft grass with every step. Finally, she reached the great tree, which looked orange in the half-light, and it swiped at her. She ducked easily, but it soon pulled her feet out from beneath her. Her head hit the ground hard, and she groaned. But when she looked, she saw that she was lying right next to a gaping hole in the ground, which had the have been where the boys had gone. She felt around the rim, then pulled herself down, narrowly avoided another branch. She fell on her back onto hard-packed dirt with a thump
There were voices up ahead, so Lydia hurried towards them, taking care not to make a noise with her feet. The voices were unmistakable, and Lydia knew she hadn’t been wrong. The Marauders were talking about something or other, but she could not hear Remus’ voice with them. She kept going, driven by curiosity.
She soon came to an opening, a trap door of sorts, though it felt like she was approaching it from the wrong side. Though it, she could see the wooden walls of a house and could hear the Marauders talking. She clambered up, and perched on the edge for a moment, listening as she caught her breath.
“-be fine, Pete. C’mon, stop worrying.”
James’ voice, with a rare hint of compassion. Strange.
“I know, I know. How long’s he got?” Peter answered, and Lydia shuddered slightly. The boy was a creep, she had no idea what Remus was doing friends with him. Lydia had tried to have patience with him before and be kind (since no one else was), but after the way he had interpreted that kindness and what he had tried to do she wanted nothing to do with him.
There was a rustle of movement, someone walking across the creaking floorboards. Sirius spoke next:
“About four minutes; the sun’s almost down.”
What on earth were they talking about? What did the sun
matter to anything? How long did who
have? Lydia swivelled round, got up, and peered round the door. In the next room, James and Peter were lounging around on chairs, and Sirius was standing next to the window. They were all taught as wires, tense and bristling with apprehension. Sirius looked up in her direction for a moment, but she twisted out of sight before he saw her.
“Alright, Moony?” She heard him shout, and the familiar nickname brought her a pang of hope. No idea what it was supposed to mean
of course, but she had heard him called it hundreds of times, and loved watching him cringe.
A feeble reply came back from above her, on what must be the second floor, and her heart leapt. “I’m fine,”
He did not sound fine. Lydia frowned- he had been perfectly okay when they were together, not even fifteen minutes before- what had changed that? She cast her eyes around for a flight of stairs and tip-toed up them, grimacing with every creak. Luckily for her, no one noticed, and soon she was on another floor. It was dank and dingy- worse than the lower- and there were strange marks everywhere.
What is this place?
She wondered, not really knowing if she would ever get an answer.
A door was ajar in front of her, and she could hear Remus breathing heavily inside. With a grim smile, she opened the door and stepped inside. “Remus?”
His eyes flew open to look at her, and his breath caught. “Lydia? Why- what are you- you can’t be here!
She took a step back. “What’s wrong? I just came to find you,” She surveyed him quietly, all to aware that there was something desperately wrong with this scene. Remus was sitting with his back against an old bed, with his knees drawn up to his chest. He was shivering all over, and his breathing was harsh and ragged. The window was open, and the light of the moon filtered into the room, bathing them both in silver. It lit Remus’ eyes and instead of their usual gold, they were a poisonous yellow colour. They bored into her, almost hungrily
. “I was worried about you Remus- you’re so secretive. What is
He started to speak, then grimaced and hunched over, digging his nails into the floor boards and moving his legs spasmodically.
“Remus, your hands
,” she started, transfixed as the nails lengthened and became sharp.
“You have to GO!
” He yelled hoarsely, squeezing his eyes shut and turning away. Lydia heard hurried footsteps on the stairs, and spun around to see James, Sirius and Peter framed in the doorway.
“Lydia! You have to go!” James’ voice was incredulous and full of urgency as he grabbed her wrist and made to lead her away and she would have let him, had Remus not screamed so mournfully at that moment. She jerked away from his grasp and turned back to her boyfriend. He was on his hands and knees, his fists clenched and his teeth gritted- teeth which were inhumanly sharp and protruded obscenely over his lower lip. Fangs, like an animal.
“WHAT IS THIS?
” She yelled, pushing James away and fighting the urge to hit something, as though it would give her peace of mind. “Why will no one tell me anything?
James shot a worried look at his friends, his eyes lingering on Remus almost clinically. Peter looked helpless and Sirius nodded grimly. She would not look at Remus- she could hear his pain enough that it made her want to scream herself.
“He’s a werewolf. Don’t
ask questions; there isn’t time. You need to go.” James took her arm again, this time with a firmer grip and started to pull her away when Sirius cried out.
“Prongs- watch it!”
James spun and pushed Lydia like a doll into Sirius’ arms, who caught her and then roughly pushed her away again. James dodged as a monstrous thing lunged towards him, slavering with bloodlust and its yellow eyes gleaming.
, she thought, numb with cold understanding.
“Go!” Sirius snarled ferally, then shifted before her into a huge, shaggy, black dog and leapt forwards, crashing into the wolf creature that had once been Remus. They dropped to the floor, snapping and snarling viciously.
“Don’t hurt him!” She shouted, rushing forwards against all of her instincts. She had no idea what
she intended to do, but something had to be better than just standing there, watching her boyfriend be torn to pieces.
“Get OUT!” James yelled again, and he shifted too, this time into a stag. He bowed his head and charged at the tussling creatures with his antlers bared. Lydia could imagine them piercing Remus’ flesh all too easily, and the thought made her want to throw up. She was frozen to the spot, wavering between ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ reflexes, and that was when the beast saw her.
The wolf shoved off his smaller attackers, and scrambled away, falling into a loping run straight at her. Lydia obeyed her instincts for once, and threw herself to the side. The wolf missed her narrowly, and crashed into the wooden stair guard. It shook his head as though to clear it, barely meters from her, and she tried not to make a sound, though she doubted it would help. Quicker than she expected, its eyes refocused and found her again. In a single bound it was on her, sharp claws piercing her flesh like knives. With almost slow deliberation, it inclined its head and sunk its fangs into the skin of her shoulder. Pain screamed through her body as its grip tightened, spreading, infecting and she bucked under the taught muscular frame, crying out in agony. She felt dizzy with pain, and the world faded to a haze of colours.
Then, suddenly, the crushing weight was gone, and she could breathe again. The pain had not abated, not in the slightest, but at least the wolf was no longer there. She could hear the sounds of it fighting again, probably with Sirius, but she didn’t really care. She was overwhelmed by the sickly sweet feeling of lethargy, and wanted nothing more than to sink into the release of sleep, but she couldn’t. The pain kept her conscious, aware, lying on her back in smatterings of her own blood in the wreck that her boyfriend had created, the liar. He had never even told
her, not mentioned it! He’d said he loved her, but it had to have been a lie because when you love someone you don’t keep secrets, you don’t hide. Too late for that now, she’d probably die anyway.
The world was changing- colours and shapes were brighter, sharper. It was as though someone had gone round and wiped a layer of dust off everything, so that Lydia could see it with clarity for the first time. Perhaps this was dying; perhaps she was going to a higher level somehow, where everything was different. Or, perhaps, this was a small compensation before she blinked out of existence. But Lydia didn’t know, and she really did not care. With the new senses, the pain became more exquisite; it was no longer a dull throb, but something cruel and clear, that set each individual nerve ending on fire, spreading further and further through her body with every heartbeat. She couldn’t have long left- there was no way her body would tolerate this torment for much longer. Thank God
Gradually, the pain started to fade. Was this
death, finally? If it was, she was going to welcome it open armed- that would be easier than facing the future. The future was frightening, and she was better off without it.
A voice broke through her reverie, drawing her away from her dark thoughts. “Lydia? Are you... okay?”
It was James. She opened her eyes grudgingly, wincing at the sunlight, and groaned. “Peachy,” She said, with as much sarcasm as she could muster. He smiled shakily, glad just for a response, and started to pick her up. Wow, he’s strong
, she thought absently, not really caring.
“How’s Remus? Is he okay?” Each word took painstaking effort, and when she was done she felt as though she would never want to speak again.
“He’s fine. No worse than usual, just worried.” James said, taking a few steps down the stairs. “We need to get you to the hospital wing though- you’ve lost a lot of blood.”
She nodded, and closed her eyes again. The blood loss was obvious, but she really didn’t want to think about it. Lying in James’ arms, feeling the steady motion of his footsteps through her whole body, unconsciousness finally came and enveloped her in nothingness. She smiled into oblivion, and let it take her.
A/N: I really couldn't help myself, I just had
to write this story! I mean, the idea has been nagging at me for months and months and eventually I have succumbed to the urge to write this. I admit, it was meant to be a one-shot, bt I have quite a few little ideas to make it into a proper story so I thought, what the heck! Anyway, here it is, I'll stop rambling on at you now, and I hope you enjoy it.
Please leave a review, people! They make my soul happy...
Edit: I have now fixed the Lalita/Lydia thing.